Wisconsin ruling protecting abortion rights to be appealed; key parties react
The Sheboygan County District Attorney is promising an appeal of this week's court decision in Dane County that re-affirmed an 1849 state law does not ban abortions in Wisconsin.
Sheboygan prosecutor Joel Urmanski is one of the defendants in the case brought by Gov. Tony Evers and the State Department of Justice, seeking clarity on abortion rights in Wisconsin, after the U.S. Supreme Court in June, 2022, overturned Roe v. Wade protections.
In July of this year, Dane County Judge Diane Schlipper rejected Urmnaski's motion to dismiss the case and said, contrary to what conservatives have claimed, the 174-year-old law does not ban abortion in the state.
Planned Parenthood later re-opened clinics in Milwaukee and Madison that offer abortion services.
Gracie Skogman of the anti-abortion group, Wisconsin Right to Life, says she's glad Urmanski is promising to appeal, referring to the law by its statute number.
"We hope that the conversation around 940.04 is not over. This is a life-saving law that was in effect in our state for many decades, and we share the concerns that this ruling from the Dane County was potentially flawed, or missing that very important context," Skogman tells WUW\M.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul didn't say much about the possible legal arguments ahead when he met with reporters Wednesday in Madison. But the Democrat seems to like his cards, so far.
"What we now have is a final judgment from a court that has heard extensive briefing and has issued thorough opinions on this topic. It's the only court in the state of Wisconsin that has ruled on this issue," Kaul said.
If abortion rights opponents do appeal the case, it could eventually go to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is now controlled by liberal-leaning justices. Those include former Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, who many times during her Supreme Court campaign early this year said she supports a woman's right to choose.
Skogman of Wisconsin Right to Life says she's concerned about how the high court would rule. So, she says her group will continue to encourage pregnant women debating whether to give birth to go to what she calls pregnancy resource centers.
"What we have learned in post-Roe Wisconsin is truly the importance of putting our focus there. So having conversations with women in our state so they feel supported and empowered to choose life," Skogman says.
Planned Parenthood says in light of this week's ruling; it hopes to resume abortion services at its Sheboygan health center as soon as possible.
Planned Parenthood says in light of this week's ruling, it hopes to resume abortion services at its Sheboygan health center as soon as possible.
Editor's Note: Audio of Attorney General Josh Kaul provided by Wisconsin Eye.